Literally a Third of World Bank Policy Reports Have Never, Ever Been Read Online, By Anyone

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 8 2014 1:08 PM

Literally a Third of World Bank Policy Reports Have Never, Ever Been Read Online, By Anyone

486278319-world-bank-president-jim-yong-kim-listens-to-his
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The World Bank is an organization of 10,000-plus employees whose mission is the eradication of poverty. One element of what they do is writing policy reports about how to make the world better. And today the Washington Post's Wonkblog notes an unsettling fact about these reports, which was discovered by the bank itself: 31 percent of the reports the World Bank has put online have never been downloaded, ever, by anyone. Writes Wonkblog's Christopher Ingraham:

...downloads aren't the be-all and end-all of information dissemination; many of these reports probably get some distribution by e-mail, or are printed and handed out at conferences. Still, it's fair to assume that many big-idea reports with lofty goals to elevate the public discourse never get read by anyone other than the report writer and maybe an editor or two. Maybe the author's spouse. Or mom.
I'm not picking on the World Bank here. Iin fact, they're to be commended, strongly, for not only taking a serious look at the question but making their findings public for the rest of us to learn from. And don't think for a second that this is just a World Bank problem. PDF reports are basically the bread and butter of Washington's huge think tank industry, for instance. Every single one of these groups should be taking a serious look at their own PDF analytics the way the bank has.
Advertisement

Just for thematic resonance, let's see if this post can get zero shares on Facebook, zero shares on Twitter, and zero comments. JUST KIDDING, LET'S NOT DO THAT.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

The Ludicrous Claims You’ll Hear at This Company’s “Egg Freezing Parties”

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 1 2014 10:49 AM James Meredith, Determined to Enroll at Ole Miss, Declares His Purpose in a 1961 Letter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 10:44 AM Everyone’s Favorite Bob’s Burgers Character Gets a Remix You Can Dance to
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 10:27 AM 3,000 French Scientists Are Marching to Demand More Research Funding
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.